USS Higgins
First to Fight!
Higgins Celebrates Change of Command
By Ensign Kara Lynn Yingling
MANAMA, Bahrain – Guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) held a change-of-command ceremony in port Bahrain, May 28. Cmdr. Nicole Shue relieved Cmdr. Andrew Carlson as commanding officer.

In an address to the crew before his departure, Carlson said, “Seek to be inspired everyday; by inspiring others you will in turn find inspiration. At one point, you all were inspired to join and serve something bigger than yourself, and I’m asking you to continue to find that inspiration in your work, in your people, and in our mission.”

Carlson assumed command of Higgins on Dec. 2, 2011 and led the ship through basic and integrated training as well as participation in the multi-national Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 2012. He has led the ship through half of its current 9-month deployment to the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility.

Carlson said throughout his tenure, he found inspiration through the Sailors aboard the ship.

“The wardroom continues to inspire me with how they take a problem and tirelessly pursue a solution for it,” he said. “The chief’s mess inspires me with the dedication they put toward taking care of the Sailors on-board Higgins, and you, the crew, inspire me with the energy and the optimism you put into work you do.”

Shue reported to Higgins in January of 2012 and served as executive officer as part of the executive officer (XO) to commanding officer (CO) fleet-up program. The program features an 18-month executive officer tour followed by a commanding officer tour aboard the same ship. Cmdr. Shue will be the first executive officer in Higgins to assume command directly after serving as executive officer.

Shue said the fleet-up model allowed her to become familiarized with the crew and the ship before assuming command of Higgins.

“Serving under Cmdr. Carlson allowed me to better understand the working relationship an executive officer and commanding officer should have and how to facilitate both the mission and the long term success of the ship and her crew,” said Shue. “To assume command is both a professional milestone and a personal honor for me.”

Cmdr. Allen Johnson has also assumed the duties of executive officer onboard.

Higgins is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.

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